Education Week - August 31, 2016 - 12
Teacher Diversity Gap Poses a Steep Climb
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
greater teacher diversity say that
it's no less important for white students to see positive examples of
Yet the Brookings and NCTQ researchers found that, at the current
rate of change, the proportional difference between black teachers and
black students in public schools will
remain at about 9 percentage points
through 2060. The proportional difference between Hispanic teachers
and Hispanic students is expected to
increase by 4 percentage points, to
about 22 percent in that timeframe.
Improving teacher-retention rates
and implementing more strategic
hiring practices alone won't close
the gap, the report says. To get
to the heart of the matter, the researchers argue, education leaders
and policymakers must put more
attention on the nation's leaky
teacher pipeline, in part by increasing college-graduation rates among
minority students and persuading
people of color to become teachers.
In nearly every pathway leading
into the classroom, people of color
are less represented, the researchers found through an analysis of
federal data and existing research.
A smaller proportion of nonwhite
college students major in education,
and of those who do, not all want
to be teachers. While 95 percent of
white college graduates who majored in education are interested in
teaching, only 76 percent of black
degree holders have the same interest, the report says.
Deeply Rooted Problem
"What is it about the teaching profession that is scaring away minorities?" Michael Hansen, the director
of the Brown Center on Education
Policy and one of the authors of the
report, said in an interview.
The answer is not found in research, he said. And poor teacher
THE TEACHER DIVERSITY GAP
The proportional difference between
black teachers and students
The proportional difference between
Hispanic teachers and students
* At the current rate
pay cannot be the sole reason, Hansen added, since people of color often
pursue socially-oriented jobs that
pay comparatively low wages.
The lack of interest might instead
be part of a cycle: Many nonwhite
students don't have a teacher of their
same race or ethnicity to emulate.
"People aspire to serve in the positions where they've seen people like
themselves working," Hansen said.
Margarita Bianco, an associate
professor of education at the University of Colorado Denver, said the
root cause may go even deeper, involving institutional racism.
For many students of color, "school
is not a safe or welcoming place," she
said, citing barriers to academic success, discriminatory policies, and disproportionately high discipline rates.
If students remember mainly negative experiences with their teachers,
they are not likely to want to become
educators themselves, Bianco said.
Education majors who are African-American and Hispanic are
hired at lower rates than their
white counterparts, according to the
report. But simply hiring more black
and Hispanic teachers from the
available pool of teachers of color
would do almost nothing to close the
gap because that pool is too small,
the researchers stress.
Still, Richard M. Ingersoll, a professor of education and sociology at
the University of Pennsylvania who
studies teacher-employment trends
but was not involved in the report,
said schools have seen big gains in
the numbers of minority teachers
in recent decades, gains that have
actually surpassed the increases in
"Conventional wisdom is this is
sort of a tale of lament, and yes,
it's true that we don't have parity,
but there's actually been a victory
there," he said.
Ingersoll said improving retention rates among nonwhite teachers, which are lower than those of
white teachers, is central to building
on the hiring gains.
The new report projects, however,
that focusing on retention alone
won't close the gaps. Retaining
black teachers as much as white
teachers would only close the di-
NEW E-BOOK FROM EDUCATION WEEK PRESS
Education Week gets to the
heart of a law set to reshape the
education policy landscape for
years to come.
12 | EDUCATION WEEK | August 31, 2016 | www.edweek.org
SOURCE: Brown Center on Education Policy analysis of data
from United States Census Bureau, 2014 National Population
versity gap between black teachers and students by 2 percentage
points by 2060. For the rapidly
growing Hispanic student population, keeping more Hispanic teachers would barely make a dent in
the diversity gap.
While allowing that he had not
examined the report's methodology,
Ingersoll cautioned against placing
too much credence in the long-term
"The truth is, it's not much better
than a crystal ball," he said. "You
have to make so many assumptions
if you want to project to 2060."
Nonetheless, the report's conclusions ring true for many district
The Boston school system, for
example, has made diversifying
its workforce a priority: 38 percent
of teachers now in the district are
nonwhite-far above the national
Ceronne Daly, the director of diversity programs for the district,
said that targeted recruiting and
earlier hiring have been keys to
yielding diversity gains. But just
"trying to recruit our way out of this
is not sustainable," Daly said.
There's a finite pool of diverse
teachers in the state, she said.
As a potential solution, Boston has
been focusing on cultivating its own
pool of diverse "homegrown teachers," she said.
For example, the district's High
School-to-Teacher program is entering its third year, with 75 students
who have been identiﬁed as prospective teachers.
Educator-mentors assigned by the
district advise the students through
high school with a focus on developing their leadership skills, guiding
them toward higher education, and
encouraging them, eventually, to
return to Boston schools to teach.
University of Colorado's Bianco
serves as the executive director of
a similar program in Denver called
Generally, she said, many teachers of color come back to their own
community to teach. Grow-yourown programs tap into that trend.
Bianco's program, which is designed
for 11th and 12th grade students of
color to earn college credit by studying issues related to educational
justice, is starting its seventh year
with close to 140 students across
four local districts.
While she doesn't have tracking
data yet, Bianco said many of the
program's graduates are enrolled in
teacher-preparation programs and
at least one has started her first
year of teaching.
Ultimately, the keys to closing
teacher-diversity gaps-such as boosting college-completion rates among
black and Hispanic students-entail
broad policy goals that go beyond
schools' and districts' purview, the
Brown Center's Hansen said.
In the meantime, he said, schools
could put strategies in place that
mitigate possible racial biases toward students-by having a diverse
group of teachers and administrators making the decisions regarding
student suspensions or gifted-andtalented selections, for example.
In conjunction with teacher-diversity efforts, Boston's Daly said
it's important to stay committed to
high-quality teacher preparation.
"It's not about just having someone
who looks like our students teach
our students," she said. "[We want]
highly effective and diverse teachers;
it's not an 'either/or,' it's an 'and.' "
The report's authors cautioned
that, in their view, the end goal
should not be that every student is
taught by a teacher of the same race
but that all students interact regularly with teachers of their own and
different races and ethnicities.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - August 31, 2016
Education Week - August 31, 2016
Calls to Halt Charters Stir Friction
Head Start Benefits Underscored
Efforts to Boost Teacher Diversity Seen Falling Short
Digital Directions: 1-to-1 Computing Under Microscope in Maine Schools
News in Brief
Back to School: Taking the Public’s Pulse
U.S. State Department Tackles Gender Gap in Stem Participation
Act Scores Dip as Participation Swells
Are Poor Students More Ready for Kindergarten?
Teacher-Tenure Battles Continue After Vergara
Judge Blocks Guidance on Transgender Rights
Reading the Tea Leaves in Advance of Essa Funding Rules
Q&A: With Christopher Emdin
Q&A: Talking K-12 With a Force in the House Gop
Howard Fuller: The Naacp Has It Wrong
Milton Chen & Jonathan B. Jarvis: 100 Years Old, Our National Parks Are the Best Outdoor Classrooms
Topschooljobs Recruitment Marketplace
David E. Dematthews: The Principal as Community Advocate
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - Digital Directions: 1-to-1 Computing Under Microscope in Maine Schools
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - 2
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - 3
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - News in Brief
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - Report Roundup
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - Back to School: Taking the Public’s Pulse
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - U.S. State Department Tackles Gender Gap in Stem Participation
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - Are Poor Students More Ready for Kindergarten?
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - Teacher-Tenure Battles Continue After Vergara
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - 10
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - 11
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - 12
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - 13
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - 14
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - 15
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - Reading the Tea Leaves in Advance of Essa Funding Rules
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - Q&A: Talking K-12 With a Force in the House Gop
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - Howard Fuller: The Naacp Has It Wrong
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - Milton Chen & Jonathan B. Jarvis: 100 Years Old, Our National Parks Are the Best Outdoor Classrooms
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - 20
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - Letters
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - Topschooljobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - 23
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - David E. Dematthews: The Principal as Community Advocate
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - CT1
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - CT2
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - CT3
Education Week - August 31, 2016 - CT4